31, San Diego & five links

Just a coincidence

Remember when I went to a taping of The Price is Right… and didn’t win anything? Well, it aired on Friday. It’s online. My friend Lucy who smells like corn (10 points for you if you get the reference) pointed out the spots where you can see our group of 4 fabulous Chicana education PhD candidates — well 3 of 4, I’m the slowpoke of the group. If you care, they’re at: 0:47, 6:35, 7:43, 9:55, 22:35 and 37:35.

After 9 month or so hiatus, we finally have a new issue of Puro Pedo Magazine.

A friend linked me to the latest NPR Krulwich on Science story about favorite numbers. I wonder why it made her think of me.

Last week’s PostBourgie podcast featured a few notable guests as well as the usual contributors reviewing the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

Chicano Twitter Bird

Sean created a Chicano version of the brown Twitter bird. I think we can call it the lighter shade of brown Twitter bird.


31, Yosemite

We were in sites 30 & 31

It seems that since I’ve returned from our camping trip in Yosemite earlier this summer, I’ve read an almost weekly story about deaths in the park. Five of this year’s deaths were associated with the Mist Trail (slipping, getting swept over the falls). Two people slipped and fell while hiking Half Dome. The scenery on the Mist Trail and throughout the park is breathtaking, but getting to those lookout points can be quite perilous, especially in bad weather conditions and when ignoring safety precautions

Fotos, Los Angeles

31, Palms & the neighbors’ kids

My building's 31

I’m cheating a little with this one. The 31 above is on the building I live in. It’s followed by two other numbers. I cut them out. Of course, I would live on the 3100 block of my street.

I’ve been living in the same apartment for nearly 11 years. I moved in two days after I turned 20 with 3 other women. Over the years, they all moved out and I got new roommates. Work, graduate school and the promise of rent control kept me here.

Only a few of my original neighbors remain. In recent years, families with small children have moved in (or had a child). Currently, there are about 8 kids living in the two adjoining buildings. They’re all under 10 years old. The youngest are toddlers, the oldest probably 7 or 8.

The kids have developed a friendship/sometimes rivalry. They play in the driveway right outside my window and drive me nuts with all the noise. They run up and down, ride their bikes and scooters, slam the doors of the laundry rooms, play on the stoop right outside my door, and scream as they play tag. I hear their arguments, whining, crying, occasional scolding from a supervising parent or older sibling. When I have to drive my car out or in, I’m extra cautious, always worrying one will dart out from the stairwell or laundry room. In the summer, their play time goes until after dark.

When I’m most annoyed, I’ve considered leaving a note on the corresponding apartments: THIS ISN’T A PLAYGROUND! Below it, I’d include a map to more appropriate play places such as the playground half a mile away or the high school track/football field around the block. I fantasize about hiding the toys they leave littered on the driveway or even running them over. Oops. I’m passive aggressive, but not that passive aggressive.

To be fair, the kids are usually polite when I interact with them. If I ask them to watch out for cars, they oblige. Only once or twice have they done something I’d consider truly egregious. One kid — ironically my favorite — sprayed me point blank with a water hose. His mom apologized to me and he was punished.

Lately, I’ve been listening to the kids play. It provides some entertainment. One of the younger kids just got a bike with training wheels and it’s interesting to see how the older boys treat him. They talk about movies and cartoons the way I used to with my friends and cousins. Another boy, always breaks in to tears by the end of play session. He often tells on the other kids. Sean calls him a snitch.

My favorite, a chubby four-year old and new bike owner, chatted me up through the window a couple of weeks ago as I made dinner. “We all need to do exercise,” he said. I agreed with him. What’s better exercise than running around and playing with your friends?

Cultura, Fotos, Mexico

31, El Cargadero, Zacatecas & tamborazo

Treinta y uno

During the fiestas de San Rafael, the patron saint of El Cargadero, the ghost town comes to life with migrants who have returned for the festivities. I’ve never been there for the feasts in October, but 4 years ago my parents went with Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni. During the day, they went through the bureaucracy of signing over the grandparents’ house to my mom. In the evening they joined the festivities in the Plaza del Migrante or watched the borlote (commotion) from the balcony. My grandparents’ – well, now mom’s – house overlooks the main plaza. This was great for people watching, but not great for making international calls.

My dad called me one evening during the trip. Even though he was inside the house with the windows closed, I could still barely hear him. It wasn’t the connection; the background noise of drums and horns from down below was drowning him out.

The sound was familiar. I’d heard it several times before at anniversary parties, weddings, birthday parties and any other special occasion. Pretty much every big party on the Zacatecano/maternal side of the family featured a tamborazo zacatecano.

I must confess, I’ve always been ambivalent to tamborazo, which sounds a bit like a marching band[1] sometimes. It might just be the Guanjuato/paternal musical influence, but I never warmed to the music. For backyard parties, the tamborazo was always too loud. Sometimes, the horns and woodwinds sounded out of tune and the musicians weren’t that good. There was no singing; and after a while songs started to sound the same. Like the rest of my cousins, I was usually glad when the band took a break and the DJ played pocho-friendly music. Despite my ambivalence, I danced, especially if my 91-year old tamborazo-loving grandpa pulled me out to the dance floor. I love dancing with Papá Chepe and will take every opportunity I get while he can still dance.

I feel a little bad for feeling this way. I’m supposed to be proud of my culture and champion it, right? Even if it hurts my ears?
Continue reading